ECHO PARK — The $9.4 billion acquisition that will bring the Walgreens and Rite Aid drug stores under one corporate roof has raised a lot of questions, including whether the deal will mean eventual store closures and layoffs. In Echo Park, the Walgreens at Sunset Boulevard and Echo Park Avenue is only a short walk from the Rite Aid on Glendale Boulevard. Can those two stores be expected to remain open in the long run?
It’s too early to tell, according to industry analysts. The two chains combined operate more than 1,200 stores in California alone. Both companies also operate rival stores in Eagle Rock, but they are not as close together as those in Echo Park.
Officials at Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is buying Rite Aid, have declined to say if any stores will be closed or might have to be sold under the pressure of government anti-trust regulators, according to the L.A. Times. All that Walgreens will say about the future of the stores is that “decisions will be made over time regarding the integration of the two companies” and that the firm “plans to further transform Rite Aid’s stores to better meet consumer needs.”
Both chains will continue to operate under separate names, and for, now, shoppers will still be able to buy Thrifty brand ice cream at Rite Aid.
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